Art Therapy Activities (5 PDFs)

In this brief guide, we will look at some Art Therapy Activities and PDFs related to the same.

Art Therapy Activities (+PDFs)

Art Therapy activities are psychotherapeutic approaches that integrate the idea of expression through art with psychological well-being and improvement of psychological problems like anxiety and depression.

Art Therapy is a relatively newer psychological approach that helps the person with expressing their innermost desires and issues in a constructive way, and it might be exceptionally useful for individuals that are struggling with expression in other ways.

Art Therapy is particularly useful for individuals who have trouble vocalising their problems or feelings, like someone with Autism Spectrum disorder or someone suffering from cognitive impairment of some kind.

According to the American Psychological Association, Art Therapy may be defined as follows:

“Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.

Art Therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.

Art therapists are master-level clinicians who work with people of all ages across a broad spectrum of practice. Guided by ethical standards and scope of practice, their education and supervised training prepares them for culturally proficient work with diverse populations in a variety of settings. Honoring individuals’ values and beliefs, art therapists work with people who are challenged with medical and mental health problems, as well as individuals seeking emotional, creative, and spiritual growth.

Through integrative methods, art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit in ways that are distinct from verbal articulation alone. Kinesthetic, sensory, perceptual, and symbolic opportunities invite alternative modes of receptive and expressive communication, which can circumvent the limitations of language. Visual and symbolic expression gives voice to experience, and empowers individual, communal, and societal transformation.”

If you are a parent interested in Art therapy activities for your young kids then you may also be interested in Family therapy activities to increase communication.

Art Therapy Activity 1

This art therapy activity is called The Lighthouse activity, and it is meant for anyone that feels lost and needs help coming back to themselves.

This activity may be suggested to anyone that feels lost, overwhelmed, or isolated, and it may help the person to express those feelings and visualize hope, as well as identify needs, feel hope for the future, and realize where they are on a specific journey.

This activity is great for both children and adults, and to begin with the person needs to imagine being lost at sea and visualizing the ideal lighthouse that would provide the right kind of guidance to them so they may come out.

While children can also do the activity, it may be better for adults because the depth and symbolism of the project may be better suited to their advanced psychological conditions.

Materials the person may need for this activity are as follows:

  • Plain or colored paper
  • Coloring pens and pencils

The art therapist needs to begin with a basic guided meditation and make sure that the patient is calm, comfortable and relaxed, and when their breathing is deeper and more consistent, you may give them the beginning instructions of the activity, which may be about how there are points in our life where all of us feel lost, isolated, or overwhelmed. 

Acknowledge that the person is likely going through a scary time, and that even though they may feel that there is no way out, there may be a light to help guide them back to safety.

This is the part where the art therapist may start to tell the person a story about being out on a boat on a clear day, but eventually the sky has darkened, and because the sea is black and choppy water is flowing into the boat and they have lost their way.

The story progresses similar to the mindset of the person, and they may feel that they are unsure of how they will find their way back again but they eventually see a light in the distance that is coming from a lighthouse which is showing them the way to safety.

The story needs to taper off towards the person heading towards the lighthouse, and after that, the art therapist needs to bring the person slowly out of their meditative state, and towards the reality.

The person is then provided with the materials mentioned before, and they may then be instructed to draw, color, or paint a lighthouse as a source of guidance. 

The person is also encouraged to depict themselves in relation to the lighthouse somewhere in the image and to add words that represent sources of guidance in their life.

After the person is done drawing, the therapist may discuss with them how they felt through the journey that was described, and how they feel about the various aspects of the drawing they have done.

Here are some more art therapy activities in PDF form.

One might also find one of the best Art Therapy Activities, which is about emotion faces, here.

Art Therapy Activities 2

This is another great art therapy activity that aids the person’s understanding of anxiety and helps them visualize their anxiety so that they can get started on controlling and treating it.

People may find it hard to represent their anxiety as an abstract concept, or even a human one and even when the person is asked to represent it as a monster they might not be able to do so.

The typical artist needs to develop strategies to recognize their anxiety so that they may depict it better, and therefore it may be incredibly hard for any normal person to do it.

This activity allows anyone that is going through art therapy to help with their anxiety to deal with it in a constructive and head-on manner.

The materials needed for the activity are as follows:

  • Coloring pens and pencils
  • Collage materials
  • Sculpting clay
  • Miscellaneous materials such as fabrics and textures
  • Any other decorative materials to help participants create their ‘anxiety’ 
  • Paints and easels
  • Scissors, paper, and glue

The art therapist behind by introducing the concept of the workshop activity by discussing anxiety properly, and in detail, not just the signs and symptoms, but also the effect it has and how it changes how someone thinks about the challenges in their life.

The person is also asked to reflect on the idea that anxiety is mostly an unseen thing, and encourage them to think of what if they could see it and what they think it might look like.

The person may also be asked to take a mindful minute to reflect on these questions, and they may be asked to think up an image for the anxiety they feel, what they might see it as in their minds, before they put it down on paper.

The therapist may even ask them to close their eyes and focus on their breathing and then ask them to turn their thoughts to their anxiety and on the image they have of the anxiety, in their minds.

The next step is to ask the person if they might be able to describe it, and if they have trouble starting they may be prompted with questions such as does it have a body and a head and limbs, or is it more abstract? What shape does it take? Is it tall, short, skinny, fat? What color is it?

The person may then be asked to reflect on the personality of the anxiety like do they think it can talk, or if it is silent or even what things it cares about, if anything, or how it might express what it cares about?

When it is comfortable for the person, one may provide them with the materials, and ask them to recreate their anxiety on it, and they can also be told to use any medium they feel comfortable with.

Once the person has completed their creation, the therapist might discuss the appearance and personality of the anxiety, or journal about what they’ve discovered.

Here is a worksheet about Gratitude Jars which may also be used with someone suffering from anxiety.

Art Therapy Activity 3

This last Art therapy activity is quite useful for children, and it is known as What’s in your heart.

The worksheet for this activity may be found here, and this activity contains exercises for children to express their emotions or define the things they care about.

Apart from the printout of the worksheet, the individual may also need:

  • Coloring pens and pencils
  • Glitter, sequins, and glue (if desired)

The person participating may be asked to take a moment to reflect on the things that make their heart happy or what makes them feel good.

They may also be asked what words they might use to describe these things that make them happy or if they could draw them, what would they draw?

Once the person has talked about these things, they may be provided with the worksheets and ask them to fill the heart with what we have just been thinking and talking about. 

These can then be discussed at length depending on how the person feels about them.


In this brief guide, we looked at some Art Therapy Activities and PDFs related to the same.

Art therapy activities can be very helpful for individuals who are not able to express what they are feeling well enough in words, or maybe they are not feeling much relief from doing the traditional cognitive behavior therapy exercises that may be done with other patients.

Art therapy activities can help tremendously with problems related to anxiety, depression, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and even some conditions with psychosis, like Schizophrenia or substance abuse.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

If you have any questions or comments about Art Therapy Activities, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Art Therapy activities PDF

What is art therapy and how does it work?

Art therapy is a technique that works on the principle of creative expression and believes that it can foster healing and mental well-being. It is a belief of the proponents of art therapy that art Art can lead to people exploring their emotions through either creating it or viewing others’ art, and therefore that and therefore this process can be used to develop self-awareness or even to cope with stress or boost self-esteem, and work on one’s social skills.

What is the role of art therapist?

The role of an art therapist may be to aid the process of the individual’s self-expression through their artwork and to help clients understand their emotional conflicts which are being represented in whatever the artwork contains.

An Art Therapist may also help the person who is engaging in art therapy to develop social skills, improve self-esteem, manage addictions, reduce anxiety, and restore normal function through art in a healthy manner.

How is art therapy effective?

Art therapy is effective because it helps to improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions of the person engaging in it, and it has also been shown to foster self-esteem and self-awareness in individuals.

Art Therapy can also help cultivate emotional resilience and promote insight in people, and in those that have limitations in their social sphere, and artworks can also be used to enhance the person’s social skills, as well as reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change as well.

What is art therapy counseling?

Art Therapy counseling involves making use of artworks done by the individual in the context of art therapy and basing the counseling insights on these artworks.

Art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services approach that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active artworks, and creative processes, and it consists of applied psychological theory as well as knowledge of human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.


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